Lesson 13 What Constitutes Sin?
Reading: Psalm 51.
to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
9:41. Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye
say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
15:22. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now
they have no cloak for their sin.
5:28. I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath
committed adultery with her already in his heart.
7:21. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts,
adulteries, fornications, murders.
John 3:4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also
the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
John 5:17. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
5:13. For until the law sin was in the
world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
4:15. Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law
is, there is no transgression.
14:23. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he
eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is
not of faith is sin.
ON THE LESSON TEXT
9:41. Sin is rated according to light.
15:22. Hearing truth, whether admitting it or not, removes excuse for
transgression. Responsibility is not voluntarily assumed but is forced on men
through knowledge of the truth.
5:28. Sin need not be acted. Unlawful desires of the heart are likewise
7:21. Unlawful desires of the heart become the cause of sinful deeds.
4:17. There are sins of omission. These are based on one’s knowledge.
John 3:4. The standard by which sin is judged is God’s law. Men are not
left to set their own standards of right.
John 5:17. Sin is sin because of its very nature. This is not an arbitrary
standing given an act regardless of its value.
5:13, 4:15. The law was made the basis for the imputation of sin. It defined
the requirements placed on man. Without such knowledge sin is not imputed.
14:23. To do what one believes to be wrong, whether the act in itself is
sinful or not, is sin.
TOPIC: THE NATURE OF SIN
SIN IS A REALITY
It is not an illusion.
Eddy [the founder of Christian Science] told us that sin only seems real. The
terrible experiences of the human race prove the reality of sin. It is
impossible to get away from the fact of its existence.
It is not a human invention.
standards are created by men. A thing is sinful because he, or the community, so
considers it. The standard is relative and arbitrary. What he esteems to be sin
is sin.” If this were true man would be responsible to no higher being. Our
responsibility is to God’s law.
The Bible treats sin as a reality.
Direct texts. The doctrine of sin is found on most every page of the Bible. B)
The atonement. The entire sacrificial system and particularly the death of
Christ testifies to the awful reality of sin. If there is no sin there is no
need of atonement.
THE LAW OF GOD
The supreme moral law.
The law of right and wrong. By the moral law we mean those fixed principles of
right and wrong that are everywhere and always in force. Such a law is eternal
and universal in its very nature. Every moral being is bound by it. B) This law
was written in man’s nature. Man instinctively distinguishes right from wrong.
Through sin this law has been much weakened in man, but it is greatly restored
through salvation. C) It is to this law, as men may be conscious of it, that
those who have not the Bible are amenable. D) Any violation of this law is sin.
“All unrighteousness is sin.”
Through legislation. These are laws, not essentially moral in themselves, that
come in force only through commands. Much of the old system was of this
character as are some of the commands of the New Testament. B) They are
temporary. Having come into force through legislation they may also be annulled.
Many were intended only for a limited time. C) They are binding while in force.
God possesses full right to enact such laws. The keeping of the great moral law
is briefly stated as loving God with the whole heart. To so love God requires
obedience to every known command hence it is morally necessary to obey enacted
HOW SIN IS IMPUTED
According to knowledge.
Justice requires it. It is manifestly unfair to hold one responsible for what he
does not know and has no opportunity to know. Human courts make some allowance
for ignorance. God who knows all hearts deals justly. B) Knowledge comes through
the Scriptures. The chief source of information concerning our duty toward God
is the Bible. “Sin is not imputed where there is no law.” If I had not come
and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. The Bible reveals to us the true
moral standard as well as enacted laws. C) Willful ignorance is not excusable.
Some do not like “to retain God in their knowledge” but are willingly
ignorant. Our responsibility extends to what we have the privilege of knowing.
D) Ignorance does not save. Knowledge gives added opportunity for either
obedience of sin; it is the attitude toward the knowledge possessed, and not the
degree of knowledge, that determines the sin.
According to motive.
Sin is a heart act. Sin, being a moral question, is not determined by the mere
deed. It is the soul that sins, the body is but the instrument. The motive
determines the guilt. B) Good intentions justify the act. Unto the pure all
things are pure. The act itself may require confession and restitution, but it
is not imputed as sin when prompted by pure motive. C) Evil intent makes a deed
evil. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. To do that which is not wrong itself,
if the doer regards it wrong, it is sin (Romans 14:14).
HOW SIN IS COMMITTED
In acts. The many acts forbidden by God’s word when committed are sin. An act
willfully done in violation of knowing the law brings certain guilt. The sin of
Adam was of little importance if judged by the mere act but was enormous when
judged by its deliberate character and its consequences. B) In words. Words are
an act. Falsehood, profanity, and vile conversations are sin. C) By omissions.
To know to do good and do it not is sin. Maybe a deliberate refusal.
Evil desires. The consent of the heart to an evil deed is counted sin. There is
sinning in thought. B) Unpremeditated deeds. A profane man often swears through
the force of habit. You are responsible for the habit. Evil desires. C) Sincere
sins. You may be deceived in what you believe and be sincere. Ill feelings.